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APRIL 30, 2020


Christians & Coronavirus:

Staying Connected in Christ


My number one, hands down, favorite thing about my job in the parish office is the people I encounter on a daily basis. Each encounter shapes me, and fills me with gratitude for all that I have and don’t have. Each one gives me perspective in life, whether it is a family or individual grieving or dealing with a hardship, a homeless person needing food or some hope in life, a cheerful parishioner greeting me, a loyal volunteer helping me and chit-chatting about life, a generous parishioner dropping off food or their collection envelope, a co-worker asking for assistance or offering me support, a pastor praying with staff at noon, a lonely parishioner in need of a listening ear and a little conversation. Those encounters shape me and fill my soul everyday!


Obviously those encounters have fallen by the wayside, as well as my time in the office, due to this quarantine.  And so my encounters are limited to my family. In our home is my husband, myself, and our four sons - a 20 year old, a 17 year old, a 15 year old and a 12 year old - SIX people in a very average-size house. Can you guess what my encounters are like now? LOL  Can you guess my perspective and what fills my soul? 


Well… my 20 year old said it best, “I love you all but I just want to be with my friends!”  I never realized or appreciated how much our daily encounters outside of our home fill big sections of our soul. 


These days in quarantine are different for sure, I have encountered family uncertainty and massive stress across all aspects of my life, individual anger and aggression, frustration, fear, extreme anxiety and worry, selfishness, stubbornness, lots of tears, competitiveness, being overwhelmed feeding six people, cooking for six people, living with slobs, 24 hours a day of dishes and laundry, technical difficulties causing absolute meltdowns, lack of reverence and attention during online Mass, brothers annoying each other and being annoyed, physical fighting, pushing, yelling, and more yelling, depression, silence, isolation, mourning the lack of senior year activities and graduation, mourning not being at school or work physically, mourning the lack of sports involvement or spectatorship, tornado-like storms leaving a power outage for three days, lack of motivation, giving up, defeat, discouragement, more tears, more silence ~ suffering.


AND I have also encountered immense family love, support, encouragement, respect, patience, joy, laughter, friendship, teamwork, self discipline, self motivation, self knowledge, perseverance, and mental toughness. I’ve enjoyed game nights, puzzles, family dinners, family rosaries, attending online Mass weekly as a family in our pajamas, movie nights and movie days, introducing my boys to the wholesome “Little House on the Prairie” and their comments, painting three rooms in our outdated home, decluttering our neglected home, daily hugs from my sons, husband and dog, a long drive with my husband to vent and work things out, building a pergola from the old playset in the backyard, splitting wood and cleaning up the yard, watching Seinfeld re-runs together with hilarious discussions on what TV Guides are, delivering dinners and baked goods to family members, seeing my sons do their laundry, attending parades for birthdays and last radiation treatments, getting up every day for school and work, a 20 year old selflessly going outside our home to work 6 days a week in the deli, giving back and supporting local businesses, thankful they are open and thankful to have jobs, putting a little money in savings, enjoying our new family pet - a Carolina Wren - and the bird nest under our deck, bike rides, walks, talks with our neighbors from across the driveway or yard, making homemade milkshakes - probably too many, baking with my boys, cooking with my husband, watching my sons cook themselves breakfast or lunch, hammocking by the river, throwing frisbee and tossing the baseball, listening to my son play guitar and conversations on writing lyrics and music, nightly campfires and s'mores, planting flowers, wiffle ball in our yard, several two vs. two basketball games as mom and dad watch from the porch swing, more technology and less technology, a courageous 12 year old giving his first Zoom online presentation for his science class, hearing your sons play video games with headsets and calling out their friends' name with laughter, and them yelling, “Noah and Dominic say Hi!," conversations about college this coming fall and looking forward to the future, conversations and excitement with moving into a house with friends this August, the joy and relief of winning the bid on a new project, watching my sons’ daily workouts in the driveway or basement ~ jumping rope, planks, sit-ups, push-ups, toe touches on the porch stairs, and lifting weights - why am I not joining them? LOL, making phone calls to friends and family and hearing their voices, seeing their faces on Zoom or Facetime, reflection, silence, mediation, prayer ~ peace. 


Not until I wrote this article did I realize all the goodness that has happened in my time of quarantine and encounters with my family. They have shaped me and filled me with gratitude, love, and peace for all that we have and don’t have during this time.   


Please take time, my friends, to reflect and list your sufferings but also reflect and list all that you accomplish in your everyday quarantined life - The Lord knows it has been a rollercoaster ride for me and my family but the good far outweighs the bad. Thanks be to God!

Jennifer Dannemiller

St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parishioner & St. Andrew Parish Administrator

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